Do Animals go to Heaven?
Many of us do, or used to, have friendship with animals: a pet dog or a family cat, for instance. The picture above is the memorial to Petra, the Blue Peter dog from the 1970s. A generation of children grew up with her on their television screens, so that this memorial was erected to her memory in the Blue Peter Garden.
Those who have never had pets may sneer at the supposed intimacy enjoyed with these furry creatures, who, let's face it, can't even talk. And yet dogs, in particular, have defined personalities. They demonstrate loyalty, compassion and playfulness. They often provide company for the elderly that other humans cannot, or will not. So the question is, do they live on after they have died?
Well the question is not so ridiculous as might first be imagined. All humans will outlive their bodies, so why not other creatures? Animals did not rebel against God nor fall in the same way we humans did, so why should they merely die?
There is, however, one fundamental difference. We humans are made Imago Dei, or in God's image. Genesis says that He breathed His Spirit into Adam, who was the pinnacle of creation. Yes, a little lower than the Angels, but the glory of the physical world and the joy of His Creator. We therefore, like the Lord in whose image we're made, live forever. Some will go to hell, and those who repent and believe Christ, to heaven. Either way, we live forever. Animals, however friendly, personable and loyal, were not created Imago Dei. When their bodies die, they totally die, for they are animated bodies, whereas we are embodied spirits.
When you go to heaven, I do not believe you'll be greeted by long lost cats and dogs, parrots or goldfish. Your happiness and contentment will no longer depend on them. Of course I may be wrong. Heaven will be far greater than anything I can imagine. And if Cassie, my Border Collie from my teenage years is there, very well and good. But I suspect I'll be too busy gazing at the throne to be looking for pets.